COLUMBUS, OH — On the first day of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder’s racketeering trial, Common Cause Ohio is releasing an overview of the House Bill 6 scandal that lays out the reforms needed to make sure this kind of corruption cannot happen again.
Common Cause Ohio’s recommendations to reform the current system include:
- Requiring greater campaign finance disclosure to “shine a light on dark money;”
- Giving the public access to records at Ohio’s bill-writing agency;
- Requiring Public Utilities Commision of Ohio (PUCO) members and the panel that nominates them to be conflict free; and
- Establishing greater transparency in lobbying.
“The time for Ohio to shine a light on dark money groups and bring transparency to lobbying is today,” said Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio executive director. “Otherwise, the cycle of corruption in our state will continue and Ohioans will continue to suffer the consequences. We must hold our leaders accountable, beginning with Larry Householder.’’
Householder and former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges are accused of participating in a $60 million scheme to:
- install utility-friendly Householder as Speaker;
- push passage of House Bill 6 (HB6) — a ratepayer-funded bailout of two nuclear power plants owned by a FirstEnergy subsidiary and two aging coal plants, and;
- kill an effort by voters to overturn the bailout law.
Dark money groups were used to mask the source of funding. Additionally, Householder is accused of receiving more than $500,000 for his personal benefit. FirstEnergy, the source of much of the money involved, admitted its role and was fined $230 million in a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement.
Householder is currently charged with racketeering involving bribery and money laundering and could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted.
“While the Householder scandal has been made public for three years, no legislation has been passed to end this cycle of corruption,” said Turcer. “It’s time for state legislators to take action.”
This month, Common Cause Ohio launched a website detailing the Householder/HB6 scandal. The site gives Ohioans the full scope of HB6, the Householder trial, the non-stop corruption within Ohio, and our fight for transparency in government.